Writer, broadcaster and bibliophile Nigel Beale met Jan and Crispin Elsted in their home in British Columbia. The Elsted’s established Barbarian Press in 1977 in Kent, England. With three hand presses and many cases of type, the couple returned home to Canada in 1978 to set up shop in Mission about 50 miles east of Vancouver in the Fraser Valley. Their publications range from new translations of poetry and prose, Victorian melodrama, and new poetry to typography, and books on wood engraving. This last has become a particular speciality since the publication in 1995 of “Endgrain: Contemporary Wood Engraving in North America”. Since then an ongoing series of books called “Endgrain Editions“ has been published, each showing the work of a single engraver. These books are printed from the original blocks, with an introduction and a catalogue of the major works. The first of these, on Canadian engraver Gerard Brender à Brandis, appeared in 2000; the fourth and fifth volumes, onSimon Brett and Gaylord Schanilec, are planned to appear in 2013 and 2014.
Nigel Beale talked with Jan and Crispin Elsted about their literary backgrounds and skills, influences, experiences, hand presses, hand-made paper and hand setting type, and the evils of the digital age.
Listen to the audio interview on The Literary Tourist:
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